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San Pedro Bay Ports release draft of 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update; $7-$14 billion price tag

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach released the draft of their proposed 2017 Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) Update. The document outlines a new set of aggressive near-term and long-term strategies for the nation’s busiest harbor complex to further reduce harmful air pollution from all port-related sources, assist the state in meeting aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals, and ultimately achieve zero emissions for trucks and terminal equipment.

A preliminary analysis estimates the cost of implementing the 2017 CAAP at $7 billion to $14 billion. Given the magnitude of the investment, the draft plan calls for the ports to intensify their funding advocacy and increase collaboration with their partners to finance the new strategies.

The draft 2017 CAAP outlines clean air strategies that seek to address the enormous challenges of reducing harmful emissions from port-related sources: ships, trucks, cargo handling equipment, locomotives and harbor craft. The strategies also reinforce the ports’ commitment to sustainable operations that maintain and strengthen their competitive position in the global economy.

Updated strategies in the CAAP incorporate local, regional, state and federal standards and regulations, as well as anticipate clean air regulations under development by the California Air Resources Board. The CAAP also aligns with the vision and targets of state and local leadership, as identified in the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan adopted in 2016 and the aggressive joint zero emissions initiatives announced in early June by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, with their ultimate goals of zero emissions for cargo handling equipment by 2030, and zero emissions for on‐road drayage trucks serving the ports by 2035.

To those ends, the CAAP incorporates two new emission reduction targets:

  • Reduce GHGs from port‐related sources to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030

  • Reduce GHGs from port‐related sources to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050

Grouped under four categories, the 2017 CAAP’s near-term and long-term strategies include:

Clean Vehicles, Equipment Technology and Fuels

  • Starting in 2018, phase in clean engine standards for new trucks entering the port drayage registries followed by a truck rate structure that encourages the use of near-zero and zero emissions trucks, with the goal of transitioning to a zero emissions drayage fleet by 2035.

  • Reduce idling and support the state’s efforts to transition terminal equipment to zero emissions by 2030.

  • Update the Vessel Speed Reduction Program, expand the use of state-approved alternative technologies to reduce at-berth emissions, and encourage clean technology upgrades on ships to attract the cleanest vessels to the San Pedro Bay ports.

Freight Infrastructure Investment and Planning

  • Expand use of on-dock rail, with the long-term goal of moving 50 percent of all inbound cargo leaving the ports by rail.

  • Develop charging standards for electric cargo handling equipment.

Freight Efficiency

  • Develop a universal truck appointment system for the entire complex with the goal of minimizing truck turn times.

  • Create a voluntary Green Terminal Program to recognize terminal operators achieving high levels of freight movement efficiency.

  • Continue to explore short-haul rail, staging yards, intelligent transportation systems and other supply chain efficiency improvements.

Energy Resource Planning

  • Develop infrastructure plans to support terminal equipment electrification, alternative fuels and other energy resource goals.

  • Continue to develop and implement viable energy conservation, resiliency and management strategies.

The updated CAAP captures projects underway as well as future projects, including those that will require further study to determine how and when to demonstrate new technology. A roadmap for conducting feasibility assessments is among the supporting documents.

The 2017 CAAP sets new clean air goals focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The plan carries over previous 2023 targets for cutting other primary pollutants aimed at reducing diesel particulate matter (DPM) 77%, sulfur oxides (SOx) 93%, and nitrogen oxides (NOx) 59% below 2005 levels.

The most recent emissions inventories show the ports have already surpassed the 2023 DPM and SOx reduction targets and are within striking range of the NOx target. The 2017 CAAP identifies the tougher measures needed to ratchet down emissions to zero or near-zero levels.

The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach are the two largest ports in the nation, first and second respectively, and combined are the ninth-largest port complex in the world. The two ports handle approximately 40% of the nation’s total containerized import traffic and 25 percent of its total exports. Trade that flows through the San Pedro Bay ports complex generates more than 3 million jobs nationwide.

The document’s release kicks off a public review and comment period that extends through 18 Sept.

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